A strategy to manage flying-fox camps within the Coffs Harbour area has been adopted by Council after consultation with the community.
Coffs Harbour is home to three permanent flying-fox camps with the Woolgoolga Lake Camp and Barcoo Court Camp at Toormina both listed as nationally important sites for the species. There is also a camp at Coffs Creek, as well as other temporary camps that occur sporadically.
Flying-foxes play an important role in pollination and seed dispersal and are protected in NSW under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974. The grey-headed flying-fox is also protected under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and the federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
However, loss of feeding areas and roosting habitat means that flying-fox camps are appearing more frequently in urban centres, creating conflict with residents who are concerned about possible health issues, noise and odour.
To help minimise the effects for residents, Council has now adopted the Coffs Harbour LGA Flying-fox Camps Strategic Camp Management Plan.
The plan includes both long-term and short-term strategies for the management of flying-fox camps. Actions include:
- establishing a complaints tracking system within Council;
- ongoing maintenance of existing buffers at Coffs Creek and Woolgoolga Lake;
- the production of a detailed Vegetation Management Plan for Barcoo Court and related management of vegetation within the Council easement on the northern side of Barcoo Court;
- ongoing community education and communication with neighbouring residents prior to, during and following implementation of management actions;
- education regarding possible property modifications;
- investigation of service subsidies; and
- identification, rehabilitation and protection of flying-fox habitat.
A number of the actions from the Plan – such as ongoing communication with neighbouring residents – are already under way, while grants are being actively sought to get other aspects of the strategy in place.